Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fruits, Vegetables and Nuts

The mellow Moon,
The changing leaves,
The earlier setting Sun,
Proclaim at last, my merry boys,
The harvesttime begun.
~Charles G. Eastman (1816–60)

The farmer's market was quite the success. I bought 20 pounds of broccoli for $8, 26 pounds of beets for $12 and 33 heads (90 pounds) cabbage for $20. I picked up 4 large leek for $3.

The broccoli went to one friend, the beets I split with another friend, the cabbage will become sauerkraut tonight and the leek, with our potatoes was dinner last night-potato leek soup. Yesterday was a soup day as it was windy and cool, so it was perfect.
The pears I got from my friend, became pear bread and tutti-fruity jam. As the rest of the pears ripen I will be making more of the bread and freezing it for snacks.
My share of the beets became 13 pints of canned beets, some sliced and some whole. The shelves are getting pretty full, which I love. I love it even more in winter. At some point I have to put all the info on what I canned together. It lets me know what I have to change/grow from year to year as we try new things. This year I had to buy most of my tomatoes due to blight, but the cucumbers and peppers were awesome. And speaking of peppers I was able to pawn mine off on someone else!
So it was a good day. The wind made it perfect for line drying clothes. The tricky part is getting to the line without getting hit in the head with a hicklory nut. I have a squirrel that sits in the canopy chewing off the husks and dropping them down on everyone. A cat had him in his clutches the other day and I rescued him, you would think he would be more appreciative!
And here is a picture of another nut. My son came home from football practice like this! The "friend" that did it to him was no barber and we had to shave spots here and there as he/football buddies have decided they are going to keep it for a while. Thankfully he has a decent shaped head! As long as the school doesn't have a problem with it, I don't. It is funny watching them change - in the beginning of the year he had long ringlets, he let his sister cut his hair to a presentable level for formal and now the mohawk! They keep it interesting.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Keeping Busy

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.~Oliver Wendell Holmes

There are more than a couple of gray hairs showing in Mother Nature's locks right now but it makes it even more beautiful. I love all the seasons but temperature-wise, I would have to say Spring and Autumn are the best. The 50-60's are perfect weather. The Mystery Lily's must agree because they gave a second wave of blossoms...shorter but just as beautiful.

I have been busy all summer canning but I feel busier now. I am going in a hundred directions and then crash into bed at night.

I am ripping and tearing the garden. I picked seven pounds of celery and froze it. I also picked more of these...I haven't done anything with them yet. I was thinking of passing them on or dehydrating them. I have already pawned off bags of them-they are starting to be like zucchini where people hide when they see you coming. I almost pulled the plants but decided to leave them until the frost hits.

I picked some pears at a friends house which I need to do something with. My kids like the pear honey but prefer a grape, blackberry, elderberry or raspberry jam. They don't like pears canned so I found a pear bread which says it freezes well so I am going to try it and see what we get.
I have been knitting. I made the two pair of baby socks,
the Christmas stocking, and finally did the last finishing touches of the Apple Blossom baby sweater. The i-cord isn't in because I trying to decide if I want it or not. I don't want a baby to pull the ties and choke themselves. I may end up putting a button on it.

And I went through some bags of fleece that were given to me and washed up some of that and dumped what I didn't want to be bothered with. We went to shear our sheep this Saturday and the man replaced a little part and now the new shears don't want to cut. He needs to figure out what he did because I need them sheared NOW....of course they are calling for rain pretty much all week.

The Christmas countdown on the last post really kicked me in the butt. I have been working on some Christmas presents and picked up quite a few this weekend. I have always loved Christmas but I am really having fun this year. Of course it is early still so I may burn out before the holiday gets here.

I was suppose to go to the farmer's market early Friday but ended up helping a friend who needed to go to the doctor. So today I am heading out to see what is coming out of the farmer's fields and ovens...Apple cider doughnuts are calling me, gotta go.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Autumn

"But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head ... The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on."- Robert Finch

As the days have passed the sun is coming through the windows at a different angle, the air has cooled and the sleeves are getting longer. It was 43 Saturday morning...#1 daughter mumbled something about fire and woodstove but I didn't quite catch that. I have to see how long we can go without it. This morning the weather man said we should expect our first snow in approximately a month. Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to use heat until then? Just because the woodpile is growing on a daily bases doesn't mean we need to burn it all before the real cold gets here.
The canning is still continuing but at a slower pace. I still have to do apple cider and sauerkraut. This year I swallowed my fear and used the pressure pot a lot more. I also tried several new canning recipes, including this carrot cake jam. Yummy! It is definitely a keeper recipe.
The house sadly neglected during canning season and summer now calls for drastic attention! And so I have begun fall cleaning. I will be the first to admit, I am not a disciplined person. I will get cleaning in one area, find something that has to go to another area and start cleaning a space there. Needless to say it causes even more of a mess. So much for the simple life.
Sunday the menfolk returned from the annual salmon fishing. I had made reservations for next month too just in case this trip was unsuccessful. It was Sir T's first salmon fishing trip and I think he enjoyed himself. He got to yell "Fish On" but sadly did not land it. They did come home with one but they didn't catch it, it was the gift of a fellow (luckier) fisherman.
I have been knitting. I started a Christmas project - once, twice, three times.First my mind couldn't get it, then I screwed up which needles the stiches were to be on by trying to correct another mistake and then I did a k1 p1 ribbing instead of a p1 k1 ribbing. I think I finally have it right...we shall see. I put it aside for now to concentrate on things for a small craft show I am going to. And speaking of shows, I went to Endless Mt Fiber Fest. I did come home with some more yarn...I foresee socks in the future! I didn't buy any roving as I have so much and hadn't been spinning. Of course once home, I ended up sititing in front of the wheel and not stopping until I had spun 8 oz. Oh well, shearing starts this weekend.

Even though things are winding down there is so much that still has to be done before the snow falls, including getting more hay hauled here for the winter. We are sinking back into the school routine and even #2 son gets up without much of a fuss. Soon football will be over and we will all be in the house by 6 pm huddled around the woodstove. Am I pushing it too quickly? Well here is an eye opener-there is only 91 days until Christmas!!!! HAHAHAHAHA

Friday, September 11, 2009


"The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze."
- John Updike, September

Today it feels like a fall day. It hasn't hit 60 yet and it is raining. But I am not complaining because it is an absolutely marvelous day....oh heck it has been a pretty good week too.

Sunday we followed #1 daughter and Sir T down to Philly with some more things for their apartment. They treated us to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Having never heard of or been to one I thought they were taking us to the filthiest place on earth when I walked in and saw the floor. And the noise! I think everyone in Philly had a birthday that night! But the food was delicious - especially the margaritas and sweet potatoes with cinnamon butter.

Then Monday the man and I spent some time together...without kids!!! We left them home, went to the farmer's market, craft store, lumber yard and food shopping.

Tuesday, I was babysitting for a friend. Her girls and #2 daughter went swimming for probably the last time this year. It was funny watching the leaves come floating down the river while they were swimming.
Wednesday, school started!!! Now, the first time you send your kids to school you pace trying to find something to do to waste away the hours, then as they get older you celebrate that day. I miss them but enjoy the peace and quiet that is not here when they are home. I also enjoy things staying clean for more than 5 minutes. And honest mothers will agree that the best cup of coffee/tea is the one right after the kids get on the bus.
#2 daughter was nervous as it is her first day in the high school but she did great. #2 son will be there next year and she will be able to show him around.
Thursday was an errand day. While riding around I noticed the roads covered with leaves. At the football game, #2's team lost but it was great sitting there with the breeze off the lake and the sun shining down.
Today started at 5. I got everyone out the door, took the car to the shop, walked home and did the animals. And then the rain started so I came inside and listened to it while I did two loads of laundry, 2 batches of apple butter and 2 batches of applesauce. After lunch I plan on making apple pie in a jar. Then it's shepherds pie with a salad for dinner. I over bought on the milk forgetting the kids were going to school so I might even use some up making rice pudding.

Like the song says.."And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
Right as I was getting ready to hit publish post...the electricity went off. A tree fell on the line coming over to my house. Several hours later my power was restored and I had an unplanned afternoon of knitting. Not what was planned but still a really good way to spend a day.
Tomorrow morning I have to resume canning and then it is Endless Mountain Fiber Fest...Another wonderfull day!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Slowing it down a bit.

The faster I go, the behinder I get. ~Lewis Carroll
The canning has continued but at a slower pace....the garden has taken note that I mean business and has bowed to my will. LOL!! In truth I am exhausted and can no longer see things through the weeds!

This is the last week before school starts so we are slowing things down to enjoy these last days. We are getting our hair done, going for rides on sun dappled roads, taking time out while picking elderberries to watch the fish in the stream, laying under a tree and watching the clouds drift past, getting the car ready for winter (that one was pricey). The guys are doing more fishing to get ready to go salmon fishing in Pulaski the weekend of the 18th.
We took #2 daughter to tour the high school where she swears she will get lost... she probably will, as will alot of other kids. And #1 and her bf came home to spend the weekend. They both had birthdays recently, so we are going to celebrate them.

And is it the smell of the earth, the crunch of the leaves, the waning day light hours, the cooling temps, the lengthening of the shadows? I think we have long lost most of our primal instincts but for some reason I have been doing more fiber....It could be that things don't stick to you as you are trying to work with them...whatever it is I have finished a small throw that I had started for a friend of mine, knit a swiffer cover and started a second. I am enjoying this resurgence and have some things planned for the holidays...we will see if my body can keep up with my want to do list!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Peace and Quiet

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands.... 1Thessalonians 4:11

Quiet is defined in many ways. If you go with the "free, or comparatively free, from noise" definition...well with a houseful of kids and animals the summer has been anything but quiet.
However, if you go with the "free from disturbing thoughts, emotions, etc.; mentally peaceful" I think I have finally reached that.
As with most families, the death of a family member does not always bring out the best in people as each strives to deal with their grief in their own way. Such was the case with our family. My brother and I who daily lived thru my mothers illness had a difference of opinion than my sister who only moved back to the area recently. For a while this bothered me and then the other day I sat and re-read the Desiderata on the side bar.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly...
...Avoid loud and aggressive persons
...in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

We had spoken the truth, it was ignored so I have choosen to avoid the situation and I did find some peace. I know what I did for my mother. I know what my mother wanted. If her wishes do not get done, I am not the one that needs to answer for it. You can not make people be what you want them to be or do what needs to be done. And having realized that I can sleep peacefully at night.

My mother's birthday was the 31st so her grandkids made her one downfall...ice cream. We had a crank ice cream maker and each year when we got out our canning supplies we would say we needed to make ice cream with the kids. Canning always intervened or in the end Dr. appts. So when I received the ice cream maker I decided that this would be the year to finally make it.
What a sticky situation that was, with the kids mixing and measuring. Then after all the cranking we found the bowl was turning but the dasher wasn't. We clamped some vise grips on the top of the dasher, held the bucket and let them turn that....problem fixed. We added some orange sherbet to the bowls of vanilla ice cream for a mock orange creamsicle and ate away. Then we froze because the temperatures are getting cold at night! It was only 42 yesterday morning. Yeah I know there is worse to come but my body hasn't acclimated yet.
Of course the cooler temps means it is much more enjoyable working with yarn...I finished the baby afghan.
It is a simple crocheted shell in Vanna Whites baby yarn in color Ducky. Looks like our chickens egg yolks but I am thinking the name Egg yolk wouldn't sell as well as ducky.
Then I knit a replica of the Jacob Black (from Twilight) hat. It was a simple k2p2 and I used some slubby handspun and #2 daughter who is a huge Twilight fan is very happy.
And finally a picture of the one sock I said I had finished. The second one is on the needles. For some reason we all fell in love with the color...Red Heart Heart and Sole in Green Envy.
So today we have elderberry jelly to make, hot peppers to pickle and a football scrimmage to attend. I found a round crochet afghan that needs attending to so I hope to get some work done on that. I might eventually catch up on all the UFO's as this weather continues!!!